Nasdaq-Listed Companies

Here's Why We Think Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) Is Well Worth Watching

Some have more dollars than sense, they say, so even companies that have no revenue, no profit, and a record of falling short, can easily find investors. And in their study titled Who Falls Prey to the Wolf of Wall Street?' Leuz et. al. found that it is 'quite common' for investors to lose money by buying into 'pump and dump' schemes.

If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG). Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. Loss-making companies are always racing against time to reach financial sustainability, but time is often a friend of the profitable company, especially if it is growing.

How Fast Is Intuitive Surgical Growing?

The market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long term, so share price follows earnings per share (EPS) eventually. It's no surprise, then, that I like to invest in companies with EPS growth. Impressively, Intuitive Surgical has grown EPS by 24% per year, compound, in the last three years. This has no doubt fuelled the optimism that sees the stock trading on a high multiple of earnings.

One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. Intuitive Surgical shareholders can take confidence from the fact that EBIT margins are up from 26% to 31%, and revenue is growing. That's great to see, on both counts.

You can take a look at the company's revenue and earnings growth trend, in the chart below. To see the actual numbers, click on the chart.

earnings-and-revenue-historyNasdaqGS:ISRG Earnings and Revenue History July 28th 2021

In investing, as in life, the future matters more than the past. So why not check out this free interactive visualization of Intuitive Surgical's forecast profits?

Are Intuitive Surgical Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?

We would not expect to see insiders owning a large percentage of a US$116b company like Intuitive Surgical. But we are reassured by the fact they have invested in the company. Notably, they have an enormous stake in the company, worth US$1.0b. I would find that kind of skin in the game quite encouraging, if I owned shares, since it would ensure that the leaders of the company would also experience my success, or failure, with the stock.

It's good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? Well, based on the CEO pay, I'd say they are indeed. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like Intuitive Surgical, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.

The Intuitive Surgical CEO received US$6.0m in compensation for the year ending . That comes in below the average for similar sized companies, and seems pretty reasonable to me. While the level of CEO compensation isn't a huge factor in my view of the company, modest remuneration is a positive, because it suggests that the board keeps shareholder interests in mind. I'd also argue reasonable pay levels attest to good decision making more generally.

Is Intuitive Surgical Worth Keeping An Eye On?

Given my belief that share price follows earnings per share you can easily imagine how I feel about Intuitive Surgical's strong EPS growth. If you need more convincing beyond that EPS growth rate, don't forget about the reasonable remuneration and the high insider ownership. Each to their own, but I think all this makes Intuitive Surgical look rather interesting indeed. Of course, profit growth is one thing but it's even better if Intuitive Surgical is receiving high returns on equity, since that should imply it can keep growing without much need for capital. Click on this link to see how it is faring against the average in its industry.

Although Intuitive Surgical certainly looks good to me, I would like it more if insiders were buying up shares. If you like to see insider buying, too, then this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying, could be exactly what you're looking for.

Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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